Are you the next big thing?
EVER thought about going a step beyond reading romance - and writing it instead?
With love stories among Australians' favourite form of escape, there are always opportunities for new talent.
And even if you're not after a serious change, dreaming up a romantic story can be a fun, exciting exercise.
Along with our mates at Mills & Boon, we're keen to encourage any of you with ideas to have a go and enter the DARE Seach for a Romance Writer competition.
All you need to do is come up with a 100-word story idea and a short example scene.
Top Mills & Boon author Clare Connelly says there are six simple golden rules of writing: read, read, read and write, write, write.
"If you want to be a writer," says Connelly, "sit down and make yourself write something."
Offering hints on how to craft romance plots for today's confident women, she adds these guidelines:
"Empowerment comes in many shapes and guises. Don't fall into stereotypes, think about all the women you know and the traits that you most admire and use those examples to create real women.
"Empowered women demand respect. They aren't afraid to stand up for themselves and those things that matter most to them.
"There is no one way to write strong female characters. Dig deeper to find your characters' inner-motivations and the source of their strength.
"Any physical heat takes place in the context of an overall emotional journey (even if the characters don't know that at the time). The tension should be at breaking point, so that a reader is relieved when finally a couple comes together.
"All writers start writing from a place of love. Silence your inner critic and (to quote my favourite tropical reef fish) just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
Keen to start? Head to https://www.millsandboon.com.au/daretowrite/ and get stuck in.
The winner will receive a masterclass with a Mills & Boon DARE editor and author, plus a Mills & Boon gift pack valued at over $500. Five short-listed entrants will each receive the gift pack plus have a chance of seeing their work published by this masthead.